Board of Directors

Running Start is operated by an unpaid volunteer Board of Directors.

President: Samantha Novak Hosmer

Samantha started with Running Start in 2015 as a Beginner in the program. After years of taking care of others, she decided it was time to take the brave leap and focus on taking care of herself. She was paired with fellow board member (and now lifelong friend) Shari Ashley as her Personal Motivator, and together they trained for her first 5k. From there, Sam went on to support three other women in the program, before becoming a co-program manager and board member for Running Start. She loves sharing the program with others, and watching the Running Start family grow! Building community is one of Samantha’s favorite things. She also loves camping, hiking, knitting, and paddleboarding. She lives in Erie, CO with her two kids, husband, and a menagerie of animals. She works in a senior living center as an activities coordinator for assisted and memory care residents.

Vice President: Molly Schaaf

Molly travels the world in search of scenic runs. From the solitude of Iceland to the streets of Tokyo she stays connected to her love of trail and road running. Starting running after college, she’s led a free long distance run group since moving to Boulder in 2014, has been a Personal Motivator with Running Start since 2019, and has completed all six of the World Marathon Majors. Running is her release, her active meditation and her proving ground. Her prior experience includes planning & leading global running trips for Mile High Run Club in NYC. Molly oversees all video production for a Boulder ad agency. She’s passionate about mentoring & empowering her team as well as beginner runners. Molly’s also a loving mother and foster parent.

Secretary: Kriste Peoples

Kriste Peoples is a meditation teacher with a love of being in green spaces and exploring the application of mindfulness off the mat. And when she’s not out running, hiking, or otherwise adventuring along Colorado’s Front Range, she’s likely writing about it (or recovering with carbs in a local eatery). She can also be spotted offering talks about engagement in nature, gently nudging others to take up the cause of fun in the outdoors.

Treasurer: Sarah Vernon-Brunner

Sarah Vernon-Brunner has served on the Running Start board and been the Treasurer since 2016. Running and fitness has always played an important role in Sarah’s life, from her early days as a volleyball player and now as a runner, so she truly believes in the mission of Running Start. Professionally, Sarah was the President of Skirt Sports and after 14 years there, she is now managing the finance and operations for the Colorado High School Activities Association. Sarah lives with her husband and two busy boys in Superior.

Board Member: Georgie Zelenak

Georgie Zelenak is a Colorado native.  She received degrees in geophysics from Colorado School of Mines and Scripps Institution of Oceanography prior to leading field crews and supporting science programs at sea.  Georgie never considered herself an athlete and for years her physical activity was limited to whatever movement was required at work.  After marrying her wonderful husband and taking a desk job managing seafloor mapping data at CU Boulder, Georgie had energy to burn and decided to try running. It was thrilling to discover that there is a space for plus sized runners regardless of pace, shape, or size.  In 2021 she joined Running Start as a personal motivator.

Board Member: Jaime Archer

Jaime Saunders Archer is originally from Southern California, but has lived in Boulder for over 20 years. She has a bachelor’s in art history from Stanford University and a master’s in art history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Jaime worked in education for over 10 years as a museum educator, tutor, substitute teacher, and elementary school teacher before being a stay at home mom for many years. She is now back in the classroom as a substitute teacher and she is also the owner of an online digital designs and printables business. She lives in Boulder County with her supportive husband and inquisitive son. Jaime was a Running Start beginner in 2019. She has been a Running Start board member since November 2020.

Board Member: JoAnne Vaughn

As a late bloomer, JoAnne didn’t start running until at age 50. Through running, she not only improved her fitness and overall health, she found out she was a lot tougher than she thought she was, and had it in her to set and achieve what seemed like impossible goals. That self-empowerment and the desire to share it with others, drew her to Running Start in 2017 as a personal motivator. She loves watching the transformation of Running Start beginners – from their first nervous introductions at the start of their 12-week training program to the beaming smiles and tears of joy as they cross the finish line at their graduation race. JoAnne is a PMP certified IT project manager and lives in Aurora with her wonderful husband of 30 years and their two crazy golden retrievers. Today, JoAnne is an avid walker and urban hiker. She also enjoys golf, photography and just recently discovered – pickleball!

Board Member and Program Manager: Kelsey Pavlidis

Kelsey Pavlidis has lived in Fort Collins, Colorado since 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Luther College, and went on to pursue her Masters of Social Work at Colorado State University, and never left! Kelsey is currently an LCSW practicing therapy in Fort Collins, CO. Kelsey started her running and movement journey through the Running Start program in 2019 as a beginner, and went on to serve as a personal motivator and regional leader in 2020 before joining the board. Since completing that first 5k, she has gone on to complete multiple more 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and completed her first marathon in fall 2022. When she is not helping out with planning for the next class of Running Start beginners, running, or doing therapy with community members, Kelsey enjoys going on adventures with her husband and spending time with her two dogs, and cat.

Board Member: Kim Ovalle

I am a Colorado Native who loves exploring all this beautiful State has to offer. I possess a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology from Adams State College. I have spent the past 20+ years working in the Judicial system in various programs to include Victim Services, Probation and Domestic Relations. I have been running on and off since high school. My longest distance has been a Marathon. I am an interval runner and I run primarily for the mental health and self-care benefits. I am a certified RRCA run coach. I have been involved with Running Start as a Personal Motivator in 2021 and 2022. This is my first year as a Board member.

Board Member: Stephanie Cahill

Stephanie is a wife, mother of two adult children and soon to be a grandmother! She is a retired pharmacist/pharmacy manager, botanical illustrator, and master gardener. At age 58, she started running and was a beginner runner in the Running Start program. Two years and many races later she ran the Boston Marathon with Kathryn Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. It has been Stephanie’s pleasure to be a personal motivator for four other ladies through Running Start. She lives in gratitude for all that this lifetime has to offer and enjoys helping others along the way. Her interests include biohacking, physical fitness, hiking, spiritual growth, art, traveling, volunteering, holistic healing, and just communing with nature.

Board Member and Program Manager: Susi Irwin

Susi Irwin has lived in Colorado for the last 19 years. A native of New Jersey, she moved to Colorado to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts at Naropa University in Boulder in 2003 after earning her Bachelor of Arts in English from Radford University. Wary of never being a student again, she went on to earn her Master of Arts in Literature from Regis University. After years of part time teaching, and working in technology, she attended the Turing School of Software & Design to study Back-End Engineering. By day she is a Senior Full Stack Software Engineer at Ibotta and by night she is a Fiddle playing, sweater knitting, run-at-her-own pace girl. She is wife to an extraordinary husband and mom to two wonderful children. Susi is a 2020 Graduate of the Running Start Program and served as a Personal Motivator in 2021.

Board Member: Suzanne Libra

Suzanne rediscovered running after becoming a mom and really needed some alone time. Over the years she has persuaded at least 2 of her 4 children to try running, which only seems fair since they convinced her to try fencing, scuba diving and skiing. Her husband is a great support as she heads out to try something new or harder. Over the years, she coached a middle school run club and began doing 5ks, then 10ks, then ½ marathons, which is far enough. After 20 years as a middle and high school librarian, she retired and now works part time at Ace Hardware, bakes, gardens and signs up for races. She found Running Start in 2020, when she finally had time to volunteer. She loves working with beginners and seeing them grow. She has worked as a motivator for 2 years. This is her first year on the board.